Bel Air Village Association, Inc. vs. Dionisio
G.R. No. 38354. June 30, 1989
Gutierrez, Jr., J .
In 1972, Bel Air filed a complaint for the collection of the amount of P2,100 plus penalty which represent the unpaid association dues on the lot owned by Dionisio, as member of the plaintiff association. The dues collected are intended for garbage collection, salary of security guards, cleaning and maintenance of streets and street lights and establishments of parks.
The petitioner insists that he is not liable to pay the dues on the following grounds;
(1) Bel Air has no power to compel him to pay the assessment for lack of privity of contract. (2) The questioned assessment is a property tax outside the corporate power of Bel Air association to impose.
There is no dispute that Transfer Certificate of Title No. 81136 covering the subject parcel of land issued in the name of the petitioner contains an annotation to the effect that the lot owner becomes an automatic member of the respondent Bel-Air Association and must abide by such rules and regulations laid down by the Association in the interest of the sanitation, security and the general welfare of the community. It is likewise not disputed that the provision on automatic membership was expressly annotated on the petitioner’s Transfer Certificate of Title and on the title of his predecessor-in-interest.
Ruling of the MTC: The Municipal Court of Makati rendered its decision in favor of Bel Air.
Ruling of the RTC: Court of First Instance affirmed the decision of the lower court.
Ruling of the CA: The Court of Appeals elevated the case to the Supreme Court, the issues raised being purely questions of law.
(1) Whether or not the purchasers of land is bound by such annotation.
(2) Whether or not the questioned assessment is a property tax outside the corporate power of respondent association to impose.
RULING OF THE SC:
(1) In the case of Tanchoco v. Aquino, the Supreme Court ruled that purchasers of a registered land are bound by the annotations found at the back of the certificate of title covering the subject parcel of land.
Section 39 of Art. 496 (The Land Registration Act) states:
“Sec. 39. Every person receiving a certificate of title in pursuance of a decree of registration, and every subsequent purchaser of registered land who takes a certificate of title for value in good faith shall hold the same free of all encumbrances except those noted on said certificate x x x (Italics supplied.)
Petitioner’s contention that he has no privity of contract with the respondent association is not persuasive. When the petitioner voluntarily bought the subject parcel of land it was understood that he took the same free of all encumbrances except notations at the back of the certificate of title, among them, that he automatically becomes a member of the respondent association. One of the obligations of a member of the respondent association is to pay association dues necessary for common expenses
(2) No. The mode of payment as well as the purposes for which the dues are intended clearly indicate that the dues are not in the concept of a property tax as claimed by the petitioner. They are shares in the common expenses for necessary services. A property tax is assessed according to the value of the property but the basis of the sharing in this case is the area of the lot. These expenses are necessary, valid, and reasonable for the particular community involved.